Honduras: Polls Predict Tight Presidential Election Race

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Presidential candidate Xiomara Castro (photo via official Facebook page)

Presidential candidate Xiomara Castro (photo via official Facebook page)

With the Honduran elections less than one month away, the wife of deposed former president, Xiomara Castro, is running neck-and-neck against the ruling party candidate Juan Orlando Hernández.

Ahead of the 24th November election, Reuters reports that Libre party candidate Xiomara Castro has a slight lead over Hernández the Partido Nacional candidate according to the latest polls.

Security and corruption are at the centre of the Honduran presidential campaign, unsurprisingly for a country with one of the world’s highest homicide rates, with 86.5 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants in 2012.

During a recent presidential forum Castro, whose husband Manuel Zelaya was elected in 2006 before being forced out in 2009 after a coup d’etat, reinitiated her position to tackle the violence with a community police force.

Hernández who is currently president of the National Congress is in the process of installing a new military police force to operate alongside the army.

Last week three US Congressmen wrote a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry to urge him to speak forcefully against attacks targeting human rights activists and opposition candidates.

They are concerned over a lack of democratic conditions to guarantee a free and fair election process.

“State security forces are taking on an increasingly central and ominous role in context of the election. We are particularly alarmed to learn that the ruling party, and its presidential candidate Mr. Juan Orlando Hernández, now dominates all the key institutions of the government, including the country’s electoral authority and the military, which distributes the ballots – leaving scarce recourse for Honduran citizens should fraud be committed in the electoral process, or human rights violations continue to threaten open debate. This is particularly troubling given the long history of electoral fraud in Honduras.”

The Honduran President, Porfirio Lobo, said that accusations of attacks and the lack of transparency in the electoral process are part of an international campaign against him and his government.

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